The Parental Gauntlet


abby2_icon.gif teo_icon.gif dean_icon.gif

Doreen played by: Felix

Scene Title The Parental Gauntlet
Synopsis Dinner at Abigail's place is all sorts of awkward, painful, torturous and pleasant. There's accusations and questions of intentions towards their daughter, questions about jobs and very little approval in regards to everything. Yup. It's a parental gauntlet. And Teo survived.
Date May 9, 2009

Village Renaissance Building - Abigail's & Alexander's Apartment

An average middle class apartment, it's populated with decidedly not middle class furniture. A solitary red suede couch occupies the immediate living room, with a battered coffee table and side tables as it's companion. A decent sized TV sits on a cupboard with a stereo, DVD player. The kitchen sports a relic from the 70's, with matching chairs that still seem to be in decent condition. The two bedrooms off the hall are distinguishable from the other, one bearing a gold cross nailed above the door, the other not.

In the corner of the living room is an ornate cage on a bird stand, a blue budgie within it's depths. In another corner is a massive cat tree house, and often occupied by a black cat with a red suede collar. It looks barely lived in, like the owners are not yet investing their effort quite yet to move in.

Dinner at Abigails place. So her parents could see her apartment, ascertain for themselves that she was doing good. More for her fathers sake than her mothers. She'd been called away earlier when they had been having an afternoon rest and had come back from the bar Puzzled. Notes left for her parents to have the car take them to the Village Renaissance building, Abby had hightailed it there -Teo fetched along the way - to start in on making dinner for her parents. As such, the place is spotless, smells like a full fledged meal is almost done and she's gotten dressed into something close to sunday best.

"My momma doesn't know Teo, about Staten Island. Don't tell her or hint at it. My Dah does, but he's not going to tell her" last minute instructions to the Sicilian. " Uhh, no elbows on the table. Dah hates that. Sign of bad upbringing. We say grace before the meal, he'll probably want you to do it. Uhhh, let him carve the roast. It's the man's job. Kids are always served first at the table, so…." She's nervous, worried, She's already taken one of her anxiety pills and she's till babbling off at the tongue.

New York does not suit Doreen. Not one little bit. Too big, too crowded, too obviously wartorn. She especially does not like that her daughter has to -live- in it. Much nicer if their only concern were watching it on CNN. She's dressed nicely, in a comfortable cotton dress, as she knocks definitely on Abby's door, looking back to her husband a little uneasily.

A tight, reassuring smile's offered back to Doreen, as Dean steps up beside her. One hand lifts to rest against her arm in a soothing gesture, his head shaking a little as they wait for the door to open. "Relax, Doreen. Ah don't like this any more than you, but let's at least try and be supportive," he says quietly to his wife, "And who knows, maybe this 'Teodoro'll be a nice god-fearin' boy."

Doreen stage-whispers, frowning, "That's an Eye-talian name, honey. And they tend to be Catholics." She manages not to shudder at the very idea.

God certainly is frightening on various levels. The prospect of meeting the Beauchamps is up there too, though. Teo is a warm presence off the girl's elbow, cracking the stiffness out of his knuckles after having shuffled through the arrangement of dessert confections on the tray twice because his friend hadn't liked the way she'd laid them out the first two times. He manages, somehow, not to look all wide-eyed and furtively paranoid as he confronts the door with a steely stare the likes with which he's taken on genocidal terrorist cells.

"If you don't calm down, they're going to think you're leering at me because I beat on you between tricks," he says, squinting as he swivels his head back around. "Breathe." There's a note to his tone that implies that token of advice is as much for himself as for her. His own Sunday best is business casual with no stray feathers or fur anywhere, tattoos carefully concealed, though there's nothing to be done for the calluses on the wrong sides of his hands.

"beat on me between tricks" Abigail has some terrifying thoughts about that. But the door is being rapped upon and Abigail wrings her hands one last time before she's heading for the door. "You don't even live here anymore. They can't think that" But then there's locks being undone. She'd been called by security to state that they were on their way up and when Abigail opens the door, there they are. So out of place in the city and in the hallway. "Come in, please. This is.. where I live. I'd have invited you to stay here…" But Adam Monroe had got them rooms that were the size of the place itself at a fancy hotel. "Come in, Teo's in the kitchen" Tayoh, she pronounces it. "Teo! They're here!"

Doreen pastes on her best simper. Which will convince Abby not at all. Not with the gimlet stare above that polite smile taking in the confines of the apartment, though she hurries over to embrace her errant daughter warmly. "Well, honey," she says. "Looks like you got a decent amount of room here, considering it's New York City."

"Ah know, but let's…" Then the door's opened, and Dean cuts off whatever he was saying in mid-word. As his wife steps through to embrace their daughter, he steps in after her, reaching out to offer her a briefer embrace afterward, murmuring in warm tones, "Abigail." A half-step back, and he turns his gaze towards the kitchen's door, hard as steel despite the faint, tight smile, waiting for this young man that's dared to -cohabit- with his daughter to show his face.

B-but no cohabiting is involved. A-abigail said so. Teodoro isn't entirely sure what to do with the set of blue lances arrayed aggressively in his direction out of Dean's face, so he does what his mother taught him to: come out of the kitchen, smile, if somewhat querulously, and offer the man a hand to shake. The hand feels like it was shaped out of brick, the skin worn down to hard pips of callus at what otherwise would have been the fleshy bases of his fingers, the heel of his hand flat and sharp and nicked by a scar. "Bu— hi," he hastily adjusts. "It's nice to finally meet you in person."

"It's a very good deal, it's more space for less than when we lived in the Bronx and the security makes me feel very safe" The door is closed, night latch behind them. No shoes on in the house, just like back home. Slippers laid out for people who want them. Abigail hugs her mother, giving in to the need to be touched by the woman, red hair clashing with blonde, both the riot of waves and curls before she's transferred to her father's arms for a quick embrace then turned free again. The cat just watches from it's couch perch and Pila flits and watches. 'Teo, meet Doreen Beauchamp and this is Dean Beauchamp, my mother and father. I'll get you both something to drink!" leave Teo to the wolves unknowingly.

"Just a root beer for me," protests Abby's mother, flutteringly. God forbid there be actual alcohol. She's giving Teo the appraising look of a jeweler confronted with an unknown stone. Not so much unfriendly, really….but she offers a smile, after a moment, eyes warming fractionally.

A step forward, and Dean Beauchamp's hand grips Teodoro's in return; his own fingers rough with callus, but in different places. His fingers, his palm, the thick build-up of epidermis suggesting a worker's hands more than a warrior's. It's a firm grip, but not challenging, just solid and honest. "And it's good to finally meet you, Mister… ah don't believe ah caught your surname, son?"

Teo has one of those. It takes him only about a second to remember it. "Laudani, but Teo is good." Tee Oh. Sounds almost like Theo; almost American. He's obscurely relieved that the older man isn't trying to snap his metacarpals in half or anything like that. All the rhetoric about carving meat and stuff had implied inculcated machismo that Teodoro is about ninety-seven percent sure that he would only know to fight off in completely the wrong way. "Do you mind me asking what 'kudzu' is? Abigail's always characterizing home with that whenever we talk about it, but I never seem to remember to Google it when I have the chance." He raises a long hand to specify The Couch, available for sitting on.

Root beer for her mother, sweet tea for her father, Teo had a drink in the kitchen and Abby was refraining from drinking her sludge lest her mother think that it's some kind of bad evil concoction. "It's a weed Teo, A vine, creeping vine" Called from the kitchen as the redhead disappears from sight.

"It grows so fast the joke is that if you stand still near it long enough, it'll get you," Abby's mother explains. "Imported back in the twenties as cattlefeed, it grows like crazy." She smiles again, "Pleased to meet you," Hey, at least he's good looking.

"It's insidious," Dean adds to his wife's explanation a bit gruffly, his hand falling back to his side as he regards Teo with an unimpressed sort of expression, his eyes slate blue in their hardness, "Much like sin, in this city. Crawls into anywhere if you aren't vigilant."

Oh God, what.

"Been here long enough, eh?" Teo says. It is supposed to be a joke, but he told it wrong or something— anyway, that probably implied all sorts of wrong things, and he's left going stiff in the face and shoulders for a moment, blinking insipidly in the warm light of the living room. Robotically, he turns his head toward the wife. "You too. I've known your daughter since November. I…" …don't know how to segue into cattlefeed or stuff without coming off completely insulting, so am stalling a moment, before he finishes, "really like her. She introduced me to her church recently. I think you'll really like him. Pastor Joseph."

Rattle clang, bang, Abigail comes back outs, expertly maneuvering with the various drinks as everyone seems to gravitate towards the couch, thank you Teo. "Everyone likes Pastor Sumter" She flashes a brilliant white smile, doling out the various refreshments. "Dinner is almost done, Teo's been working hard Dah to get the roast done, and he's a really good cook when he doesn't have his head in the clouds. He is very good when it comes to cooking fish" Abby's blowing it out her butt really, She's seen Teo cook, just.. "And breakfast, he makes a very good breakfast. Sometimes he'd be up and making me breakfast so that when I walked in the door from the Diner, I could eat and just go to bed. But. Well. This is my home. This is where I live, and… you can see that it's safe, very safe" see. Safe. Very safe. See, shotgun by the door even! That's how safe!

Abby's mother remains unconvinced on many fronts, and it shows clearly in her eyes. But far be it from her to cast aspersions in front of her host. She'll just grill the hell out of Abby later, in private. "Oh? Baptist?" she says, with brittle brightness.

The joke about having been in the city long enough does indeed fall a little flat. At least with Dean, who doesn't crack a smile in the slightest. "Ah've been looking forward to meeting him," he replies, then, smiling faintly at last and stepping along over to find somewhere to sit - although he clears a spot for his wife first, waiting for her to sit before he does. "Since November, ah? And when did you start being her… room-mate, Tahy-oh?"

Teo is just barely managing not to give Abigail a strange look, which more or less amounts to him looking strange by himself. He accepts his refreshment, which is— root beer, apparently, just like the parents are drinking. He manages to school his features into some semblance of diplomatic. "Baptist," he confirms for Doreen, nicely. "With a gift from God of his own." Teo doesn't look overtly wary as he shifts his gaze back to the man seated next to her. "I'm not anymore. We were before but the old place was" full of rats and surrounded by ganglands, four iron bolts on the door, "temporary. This place is great. I've met Abigail's landlady too. She's brilliant."

"The old place was in Chinatown and was better than the place before that, but this place is much better and I won't be moving anytime soon so you won't need to be playing musical phones! Teo lives somewhere else now, and there's just Alexander and myself. But Teo comes over. That's his bird. Pila. But I thought that it would be nice if you were to meet some of my guys" There's a pause. "Friends. Guy friends" The red head burbles.

"Alexander?" Doreen's voice is a chirrup not much deeper than Pila's, and her smile has become as brittle as ice. "So, what's he like, when he's at home?"

Dean closes his eyes, one hand lifting to pinch the bridge of his nose as he silently counts to ten. Allowing his wife to speak for the moment, his hand drops, and he reaches over for the glass of sweet tea, murmuring, "Thank you, Abigail."

In his mind's eye, Teo is pitting little cartoon versions of his parents against Abigail's parents in a round arena of bricks that look like marshmallows, and trying to determine who would win. His cheek twitches slightly. It isn't that he can't take this seriously; only that he keeps occasional acquaintance with the Midtown Man, and Sylar, and this is all so fucking weird. "Jess— Al's my best friend." Red hair, moonskin, and no, Teo won't go on for hours. "Really solid guy, used to be a police officer before the politics drove him out. He's out of town right now but he'll be back soon."

"He's quiet. He's like a brother really. He's… out of town right now, but he'll be back soon" Her words come out at the same time as Teo's and identical. It's too perfectly timed to be rehearsed as she pops up from the arm chair. "I'm going to go start getting the food, Teo, you can show them to the table!" Off the topic of guys please. Because her fathers looking like he's about to grab the shot gun and… it wouldn't be pretty. 'We have salad!" It comes out a little higher than it should. "And fresh buns!"

"Well, that's sort of reassuring, really. Doreen hipswitches her away to the table, needing no guidance. "My brother's a county sheriff," she offers, as if that similarity mattered.

"Politics," Dean repeats dutifully as if he understood entirely, taking a sip of his tea for a moment before turning that hard gaze back to settle upon Teo for a long, wordless moment. Then he rises up to his feet, inviting, "By all means, Mister Laudani, show us to the table. Ah'm certain you worked very hard on dinner tonight."

The similarity does matter. Teo doesn't like cops in general because they generally aren't good cops, in his personal experience, but he keeps a few prized (or else parasitic) ones around in his orbit. He nods his head emphatically before pulling himself out of the chair, his strides steady, trying not to think about munchkin warfare or the fact that an actual penitentiary escapee and known terrorist is not a roommate Abigail should be keeping. He leads the Beauchamps to the table, pulls out a chair for Doreen and leaves Dean to sit at the head, circling back to retrieve the drinks.

Abigail's been putting out the buns, the green bean casserole replete with fried onions, there's a pork roast, it's a repeat really of that last fated meal that she and Teo shared with his aunt only with significantly less terrorists and bad evil guys intent on killing the world at the table. next year, maybe there won't be any! There's a big carving knife placed beside her fathers plate as she moves to take up her spot at the table. Prayers before eating of course.

Al. Al would give Doreen the vapors. Sort of like finding out your child's room-mate is part of Al-Qaeda. She flutters over to settle at the appropriate chair, looking desperately for something to pin her approval to, though she shoots Dean a wordless, worried look.

A slight nod back to his wife, and then Dean pauses for a moment before saying something — and he clears his throat, offering none-too-subtly, "Well, perhaps Mister Low-danny would like to lead us in offerin' grace this evening?"

It would have taken Teodoro a little longer to determine who Low-danny is— sounds like some rap star's stage name, doesn't it?— but Abigail had warned him earlier, so he is adequately prepared to do this thing, after a blink of mild fluster. Right. Yeah. He tries not to track the zig-zag trajectory of this lazer show exchange of worried stares between the parents, choosing instead to center himself, focus, relaxing into the familiar posture of supplication to their Heavenly Father, fingers curled at his forehead and eyes closed.

It's the Lord's Prayer, spoken with a cadence unalike to that of Beauchamps' accent but bearing less semblance still to the words his father had spoken over the meals Teo had deigned to share with the family at home. He knows them well, finishes it with a word of affirmation.

Dinner will be going to hell in a hand basket. She knows that look on her mothers face. Her father so far seems to be having a better time of the visit than her mother and as Abigail lowers her head for the mealtime prayer, her voice staying silent so that Teo's in highlighted, there's a gentle hand on his knee and a squeeze for support.

Well, that's reassuring, a little. Doreen tries on a smile of approval like it's an unfamiliar garment. Maybe this foreign boy won't be too bad. Once the prayer has been dispensed with, she wonders in her finch's chirp, "Well, what is is you do, Teodoro?" The pronunciation is utterly mangled, but hey, she tries.

"Amen," Dean intones solemnly, though he neither scowls nor smiles more lightly. He reaches out to carve the roast, taking the priority of being the most senior man present, the carving knife having been set by his plate already by a dutiful daughter. At the question from Doreen, he glances over sidelong to Teo.

"I'm a translator." T'daa. Practiced line, isn't really a line. Teo is smooth, exposes two picket-fence tidy rows of teeth to go with it. Smile! "I'm fluent in a number of languages, so I do some close-captioning and subtitles, document texts for various and sundry companies. Contract basis. I was a teacher at Washington Irving before, but what happened there—" He'd forgotten to practice this part, and it skews into an uneven silence, propped up on the sudden interest he takes on the dig of Dean's knife through roast. "Changed things." His gaze flicks up again, with effort. His fingers blunt gently on the back of Abby's hand: Thank you. "And you?"

I'm a terrorist, helping to right the wrongs in the city one illegal act of a time and pulling your daughters ass out of the fire every time she screams into the phone. What he says sounds better. She offers a worried tentative smile to her mother before reaching with her free hand for her own iced tea, taking a long sip from it.

Doreen's smile is tender, as she looks back at her daughter. And then at Teo, and then back again. Somewhere, in the dim distance, wedding bells have begun to chime. "Oh, I just keep house, and once upon a time I raised Abigail," she says, shooting a fond look at Dean.

"So. Tay-oh." Dean pauses in the carving of the roast, leaning back slightly with the carving knife still in his hand, wet with meat juices, a single brow arching in the direction of the 'translator' sitting across the table. His gimlet gaze fixing on the other man's face as he asks bluntly, "What are your intentions towards my daughter?"

There should be no quote marks around 'translator,' guys. Teo is one. Someday, he's going to speak every language that flourishes yet under the sun— and probably remain as hopelessly inscrutable to normal human interpretation anyway. Not that he looks especially unreadable when Dean suddenly accosts him with that look, and that Question. He reaches for his glass of water. "We're friends," he says, feeling as if he is repeating something that somebody else already said, trying not to suspect as to why Dean would be asking if he's already repeating— "Abby's an excellent conversationalist."

To his credit, Teo manages not to wince at himself until he has safely plugged his snout into the cup.

That choking spluttering sound. That's Abigail trying to remedy that a mouthful of rootbeer is making a quick exit right for her lungs as her father asks Teo what his intentions are.

Dean gets a faintly scolding look from Doreen. That's a -little- blunt, isn't it? But immediately, her head swivels to lock back on to Teo, awaiting his answer. Hey, it was a legitimate question.

Dean Beauchamp has never been a man to beat around the bush. He usually beats straight through it. "Mmhm." The carving knife is set to one side, and he asks after a moment with a suspicious eye towards Teo, "…that's not some kind've slang is it?"

What. "Nnnnot in my vocabulary, signo— sir," Teo hastens to reassure. He almost wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, but purloins a napkin, last moment, drying his lip on that. He nudges another one in Abigail's direction, reaching over to thump her back with the heel of his hand. "Friends," he repeats, fuzzily. "I wouldn't be so lucky."

"Just friends" Abby squeaks out between a cough. "Dahhhhhhh. He's just a friend. He comes when I call and he picks me up when my tire is broken and he makes sure that I have a safe walk home. Momma, make him stop. It's dinner, can't we have dinner without fifty questions grilling. The roast is going to get cold and you hate how lumpy the green beans get when they're cold tooooo" One could imagine Abigail 5 years old and pleading to not eat her brussel sprouts.

"Honey, it's okay. I'm sure the young man is perfectly honorable," coos Doreen, before obligingly tucking in to the food on offer. That, at least, meets with her unfeigned approval. "Well, honey, nice to know you haven't forgot what I taught you. This isvery good," she says, all but patting her daughter on the head.

Dean grunts slightly, but seems to assent for the moment — probably due to Doreen's influence — and instead merely begins to work on his meal in silence. Bite, chew chew, swallow.

Teo used to push his dad out of his way with the hardest part of his shoulder when the hapless Finn was blocking the door. This is very strange to watch, but he relegates himself to doing just that, answering Doreen's approval with a smile so paranoidly symmetrical one could measure AUTOCAD geometry off of it, cutting the pieces of meat apart with his knife and prying pieces of casserole up with his fork. "Delicious," he agrees. "And the walk home is— safe as houses." There's only a hitch, there, when he remembers that Dean actually knows the truth of his daughter's kidnapping. Teodoro looks elsewhere.

And momma is oblivious. So food is dished out, served up, consumed. Abigail giving her mother a grateful look, and one with pride. She did teach Abigail after all. "We're going to Guiding Light for Service tomorrow. Then I thought maybe we'd see if there was a show somewhere to take in that they might enjoy. Dinner at the Nite Owl. Unless there were other things that they wanted to go see." Abigail looks over at Teo. "You met my landlord. I hope it really was nice"

"Well, that sounds delightful," Doreen agrees, looking between the men, the faintest of frowns wrinkling that still-smooth brow. "I hear the Lion King is wonderful," Even if part of Broadway is in ruins.

"Ah'm lookin' forward to it," Dean replies ever so helpfully, taking a sip of the sweet tea before setting it back off to one side. He continues eating, apparently not much one for in-depth conversation at the moment.

"Nice," Teo agrees. "Super nice." He quits adding superrrrlatives while he's ahead, and angles a glance over at the brutal progress that Dean is making through his plate. Repressing the urge to sigh, he impales a bean on his fork. "Heard good things about Wicked, too. Dramatic reinterpretation of the popular story. There are two good witches instead of just the one and a lot of heartening rhetoric about prejudice and misunderstanding. I've heard good things." He wedges the bean into his molars, bites it off.

"We can go see the Lion King Mommma, it is Mothers Day tomorrow. I think that'd be good. I haven't gone and seen a show ever since I've been here" she is not taking her parents to wicked. Or well maybe she will, it depends maybe on what available. The spring break season has just ended. "So, Dah, you never told Teo where you work. Momma did" A forkful of beans, the last on her place are shoveled into her mouth a look to teo as he avoids the landlady question but lets it go. Another day.

"I have to admit, I did like the movie. He," Dorreen cuts her eyes at Dean, with fond exasperation, "Thinks I am soft-headed for liking cartoons at my age. But….you know, Disney, it's almost like the old-fashioned musicals. So I'd love to see the Lion King. I've heard about Wicked, and honestly, I like the idea of that witch getting some credit. I'd've done worse to Dorothy, if some clumsy girl had killed my sister."

"Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," Dean states deadpan, before shoveling another forkful of pork roast in his mouth.

Okay, now he's got to just be fucking with Teo.

"Rendering plant," he replies with a slight shrug, then, the words of his wife bringing a slight smile to his lips, though he doesn't say anything to her words. "Floor supervisor."

Abigail looks over at Teo, curious as to how he's taking her parents. She knows her mothers likes and proclivities and how brusque and honest her father can be and that both can be a little overbearing. "Dah does a really good job, they gave him a raise last year. Productivity in his department is up ten percent"

See, their daughter does pay attention on the phone.

Doreen retorts, with a flare of amused temper, "You been suffering one to live in your house and cook your meals for the last thirty odd years, Dean Beauchamp, and I ain't heard too many complaints," She glances at Teo, Abby, then back at her husband. "Honestly, I can't take him anywhere."

Sweet. Dean is being a prick and all the ladies are rushing to the Sicilian's defense. Teo's cheek twitches dangerously near laughter, and he chews on the bean more than the bean's small size and crisp elasticity strictly requires. "I'm sure no Biblical controversy was meant," he offers, diplomatically. Squints sidelong at Doreen. "Or any other kind."

A quiet chuckle from Dean, his head shaking a little as he leans back in his chair slightly, the sign that he's finished with his meal. "You're hardly a witch, woman," he replies, a smile tugging up a bit at one corner of his mouth as he relaxes - a little, anyway!

no comment from the peanut Gallery. Beside,s it's their daughter who can actually deal people with a touch. "I'll go get dessert, momma, help me with the plates?" since mostly everyone's done. "I picked up some cupcakes and tarts from the Magnolia bakery, they're the really famous one here. They're very good"

"I don't know," Doreen says, with a particular twinkle in her eye. "I've had you under my spell for a long time." She's not….flirting with Abby's dad, is she? But she gets up to help Abby clear the table, without a moment's hesitation.

This brings about the precarious circumstance of leaving the two roosters shut up on the other side of the kitchen door together. The first few seconds of this time, Teo spends eyeing the older man out of his peripheral. Then, sparing a glance back out the way the women had gone and under a lifted brow, he asks: "If you don't mind the standard first dinner persiflage fare, uhh. How did you two meet?"

"That you have," Dean replies with a rueful smile, his head shaking a little, "Now, get back in the kitchen, woman." The last playfully gruff as he leans back once more, turning a considering gaze upon Teo when he asks. "We've always known each other," he shrugs one shoulder, "High school sweethearts, kids b'fore that. Natural progression've things."

Abigail's quiet in the kitchen, assurances to her mother that no, she's not living in sin, that she really does have a roommate and that tomorrow is mothers day so if she wants to go see wicked they can indeed go see wicked. God's honest promise. Eventually mother daughter come back out with the raspberry and pecan tarts adn the vanilla cupcakes with the fluffy icing on the top that came from the ubiquitous pink bakery box.

Doreen looks pleased….and certainly more relaxed. She's eyeing the dessert with anticipation.

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